Recycling trash into Art - 7 artworks using recycled materials in Asia

July 19, 2019

Mermaid died due to pollution - Von Wong Art - Artatler Art Design Marketplace

2018 was a year of reckoning for international recycling. The world watched helplessly as China, the nation that took in a bulk of the world’s recyclable waste for decades, banned waste imports to the country, effectively cutting off the umbilical cord of plastic waste recycling for most countries like the US and even Singapore.

The mad rush to find alternative landfills in other parts of Asia have come up empty. Countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and India, smaller stakeholders in recyclable imports, are now too busy dealing with the trash in their own backyard and have halted imports of trash from other countries.

Amidst this fruitless scramble to dump our trash from one place to another, more and more awareness is being brought to increasingly creative and artistic ways of recycling waste.

Turning our waste into saleable, marketable commodities to encourage the diversion of recyclable materials to art instead of landfills could be a good place to start. We’ve compiled a gallery of 7 artworks that have been created by artists using recycled materials.


1. Eden – artsydaphy

Eden – artsydaphy - Recycling trash into art - SENIIKU-Art-Marketplace

Image credit: artsydaphy

This viridescent wall art is designed and constructed with the intention of encouraging the opposite of a greenhouse effect (pun intended). This piece is now displayed in The Waterfront Hotel, Sarawak Malaysia.

Watch how the artists created the artwork.


2. Plastic Fantastic – Mbongeni Buthelezi

Artist Mbongeni collects coloured plastic bags from the streets to turn them into stunning portraits and other fine art pieces.

Plastic Fantastic – Mbongeni Buthelezi - Making coloured plastic bag art - SENIIKU-Art-Marketplace

Image credit: Mbongeni Buthelezi


“Good art doesn’t always come from expensive materials, or [require] a lot of money… an artist is the mirror of the society he or she finds himself within, in [my] case, I wouldn’t want to die without making a meaningful impact in society”

Mirror of society in trash - Plastic Fantastic – Mbongeni Buthelezi - SENIIKU-Art-Marketplace

Image credit: Mbongeni Buthelezi


3. Gyrecraft by Studio Swine

Colorful plastics broken down into fragments - Gyrecraft by Studio Swine - SENIIKU-Art-Marketplace

Image credit: Studio Swine

The good people behind the Gyrecraft project sailed 1000 nautical miles across the North Atlantic Gyre to extract colourful plastic broken down into tiny fragments by the powerful sea swirls. These tiny plastic bits are used to make stunning artwork like this iridescent crystal orb.

Crystal orb by tiny plastic bits - Gyrecraft by Studio Swine - SENIIKU-Art-Marketplace

Image credit: Studio Swine


4. Recycled Jewelry by Wiebke Pandikow

Recycled Jewelry by Wiebke Pandikow - SENIIKU-Art-Marketplace

Image credit: Wiebke Pandikow


Wiebke Pandikow’s unique jewelry pieces are made from strings of plastic extracted from the sea.


5. Recycled Marble Tiles by Bope Store

Recycled Marble Tiles by Bope Store - SENIIKU-Art-Marketplace

Image credit: @bope_shop


Founded by Terh and Permika in Chiangmai, Bope collects recyclable plastics and uses sheet press machines to create impressive marble-tiled coasters for sale.


6. Upcycled Products by Rice & Carry

Where environmental conservation meets social enterprise – Rice & Carry aims to provide Sri Lankan women with fair trade employment at their small-scale recycling factories, making environmentally friendly bags out of carefully cleans plastic and fabric materials sourced locally.

Upcycled Products by Rice & Carry  - SENIIKU-Art-Marketplace

Image credit: Rice & Carry


7. The Parting of the Plastic Sea by Benjamin Von Wong

The Parting of the Plastic Sea by Benjamin Von Wong - SENIIKU-Art-Marketplace

Image credit: Benjamin Von Wong

As part of his #strawpocalypse project, artist and environmentalist Benjamin Von Wong used a total of 18,000 recycled straws in the creation of his masterpiece “The Parting of the Plastic Sea”.

Millions of Plastic Bottles - Art by Benjamin Von Wong - SENIIKU-Art-Marketplace

Image credit: Benjamin Von Wong

His latest project reveals a dead mermaid washed ashore by a sea of plastic.

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